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Treaties Not Yet Ratified

Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is a convention adopted by the UN in 1979 and put into force September 3, 1981. The convention defines discrimination against women as:

Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.

It outlines an agenda for an end to sex-based discrimination by requiring its parties to enforce gender equality, eliminate prejudices and take measures, such as new legislation, to guarantee women protection against discrimination, coercion, and lack of education.

The United States signed the treaty on July 17, 1980. However, the US is the only developed nation that has not ratified the treaty.

Organizations advocating the ratification of CEDAW:


The International Covenant On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights

The ICESCR is a treaty adopted by the UN on December 16, 1966 and put in force January 3, 1976. It commits its parties to working towards economic, social and cultural rights including labor rights and right to health, education, social security, family life, participation in cultural life, and an adequate standard of living.

The US signed the treaty in 1979 under President Carter, but has not yet ratified it. Those in opposition to ratifying the treaty are often also in opposition to universal health care, which the treaty would make necessary.

  • National Lawyers Guild
  • The Law and Global Justice Forum


The Convention On The Rights Of Child

The Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) is a human rights treaty that outlines the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. Nations that ratify the CRC are bound by law to adhere to its implementation. Similar to the ICERD, the nations are monitored by the UN Committee on the Rights of Child and are examined by the committee. The UN adopted the convention on November, 20, 1989 and  it came into force on September 2, 1990.

On May 25, 2000, two optional protocols were adopted and added to the treat. The First Optional Protocol restricts the involvement of children in the military, while the Second Optional Protocol prohibits the trafficking of children for sale, prostitution and pornography. These optional protocols have been signed and ratified by the US. On February 28, 2012, a new optional protocol, A third, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, was opened for signature. Also similar to the ICERD, it would allow children or their guardian/representative to file complaints for the violation of the rights of children.

The United States, while it was active in the drafting of the Convention, signed it on February 16, 1995, but has yet to ratify it.


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